Los Angeles, Nov 8: The gunman who shot US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a massacre that left six others dead in Arizona was given seven life sentences plus 140 years in jail today. "He'll never have the opportunity to pick up a gun again," said Judge Larry Burns, according to Tucson, Arizona's KVOA TV, as he sentenced Jared Lee Loughner.
The sentence, without the possibility of parole, was part of a deal with prosecutors under which the 24-year-old pleaded guilty in Aug to the Jan 2011 attack. Giffords was in court, although she did not speak. But her astronaut husband Mark Kelly addressed Loughner in court, saying, "Every day is a continuous struggle to do the things she was once so very good at." "Gabby would trade her own life for one you took on that day," he said, cited by Tucson TV station KVOA.
"You tried to create a world as dark and evil as your own. Remember this: You failed," according to the AZCentral news website. Loughner's only words were "Yes, sir" when the judge asked if he had agreed to decline comment. Victims and relatives of victims gave emotional testimony before Loughner was sentenced.
"You took away my life, my love, my reason for living," said Mavanell Stoddard, whose 76-year-old husband Dorwan died trying to shield her from the bullets. "I felt his body give.. I was holding him as he died," she said, but told Loughner: "I forgive you. I don't hate you. I hate the act," according to tweets by KVOA. "You forgot to shoot yourself," she added, cited by NBC News.
Both KVOA and Tucson News Now initially reported that he was given six life sentences, but updated the sentence a short time later.